Positive Parenting: Fun Discoveries for All Ages at UP Children’s Museum, Marnie Foucault

UP Children's Museum, positive parenting, UP holistic wellness publication

The Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum was designed by kids for kids. Yet it is still able to address the developmental stages of youth between the ages of one and thirteen, and delight visitors of all ages. Through creative youth empowerment, the museum offers cultural and educational exhibits that reflect the diverse interests, history, culture, and heritage of the area. The museum is not only for the young but also the young at heart, and unlike many museums where the exhibits are off limits, touching and interacting with the exhibits is encouraged, if not mandatory.

The exhibits are meant to be immersive. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to join their littles by exploring alongside them for pure hands-on-fun for all—children and their adults can step into an exhibit and suddenly find themselves on an archaeological dig site discovering fossils, or driving a huge mining dump trunk (wearing safety hats of course)! Kids and their adults can learn about the route of wastewater too. From boring signs? Listening to a long lecture? Nope. They can flush themselves down a huge toilet to see where the water goes!

One of the most popular exhibits for adults and children alike is the Human Body Exhibit, where learning takes place inside a grumbling stomach, sliding down the intestines (no one can resist hitting the fart button) and then scrambling up a skin-climbing wall to explore a giant head.

The museum lets its guests step into someone else’s shoes using pure imagination.

Have you gone to flight school? No matter! Everyone is allowed to sit in the cockpit to “pilot” the real jet. Kids can chart their flight to anywhere in the world, and parents can go along for the ride. Ever wanted to be on TV? Anyone at the museum can be a meteorologist and announce the weather on UPCM TV. Order up! Kid chefs run the Candy Fossil Rock Cafe and can cook you up the tastiest dish. Every exhibit allows kids to learn through touch and imagination. Parents and caregivers can use this time of active play to engage with their children and help them learn through modeling behavior.

Once kids and their adults have explored all the exhibits, the learning experience doesn’t have to end there. The museum provides year-round programming for kids and families.

Every second Thursday of the month, the museum throws a themed creativity evening aimed at preschool and elementary-aged children and their families. The themes are fun and meant to be interactive. Popular themes include Princesses and Pirates, Halloween Party, Polar Express, Dance Party, Star Wars, and many more! Costumes are always encouraged. It’s a fun-filled evening of hands-on activity stations, creative food crafts, and always a live musician. Plus it’s always free to attend.

The museum also has programs that allow kids to take on leadership roles.

8-18 Media is for kids who dream of being published. Its mission is to amplify the voices of youth through adult media. Youth eight to eighteen work in teams on issue-based stories that are printed in the Mining Journal and broadcast weekly on two radio stations. And new kid-powered podcasts are streamed on Spotify, Amazon, and Apple Podcasts.

The museum also gives kids the opportunity to join its volunteer force. Those eight to eighteen can train to become a Guardian. Once trained, Guardians are able to help guide visitors through the museum, help manage the museum’s animals, and assist with special events like Second Thursday Creativity Series by helping model crafts or scooping up the frozen custard for the museum’s guests.

For more info on the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum’s full list of exhibits and programming, please visit http://www.childrensmuseum.org or call (906) 226-3911.

Marnie Foucault is the Director of 8-18 Media at the UP Children’s Museum and resides in Marquette with her husband and daughter. She enjoys tennis, hiking, reading, and spending time with family and friends. 

Excerpted from the Spring 2023 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine with permission. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s